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Talk to Terrie: Sick Nuclear Weapons Workers’ Benefits Threatened. Professional Case Management Files Lawsuit to Prevent DOL Implementing Final Rules

March 20, 2019

March 20, 2019

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Imagine – you or someone you love worked at a Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons facility which is covered under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP) and is, unfortunately, diagnosed with cancer.  And let’s say the Department of Labor (DOL) approves your claim.  With that approval comes monetary and medical benefits.

Congress crafted the law so that the government would pay for medical benefits which are “…likely to cure, give relief, or reduce the degree or period…” of an illness and that the benefits will begin as of the date of person filed the claim.

It appears that Congress understood that it could take DOL months or even years to finally approve a claim. Congress wanted to make sure that these workers would not be burdened with out-of-pocket expenses related to their occupational illness.

All of that is about to change. DOL changed the rules.

In about three weeks, DOL will implement their Final Rules which governs the compensation program.  One of the many rules that will change is that medical benefits will take effect only after DOL approves the claim.

DOL received hundreds of comments from national advocates, the board which advises DOL, individuals, and medical providers when DOL first published their intent to change the rules.  DOL, for the most part, rejected those comments.

Because DOL dismissed the serious concerns offered by the stakeholders and published the changes to the rules, Professional Case Management (PCM) felt they had no alternative but to file a lawsuit to stop DOL from implementing the changes. Please note that PCM sent a letter to DOL’s Secretary Acosta before filing the lawsuit asking DOL not to implement the changes to the current rules.  To date, there has been no response.

This is your program, the one that corrects the decades of injustice perpetrated against the DOE contractor and subcontractor employees.

We still have time to stop these changes from being implemented and I ask for your help.

Email DOL Secretary Acosta at: [email protected] or call him toll free, at 866-301-0070, and ask him to repeal the Final Rules and meet with the stakeholders in good faith to develop the rules which will improve the compensation program which will serve the workers, or their survivors, as Congress intended.

Again, this program is intended to compensate workers who were exposed, unknowingly, to radiation and other toxic exposures at the DOE nuclear weapons facilities; to correct the decades long denial that these exposures could result in disabling and fatal diseases.

Please help us keep this program running as Congress intended and contact Secretary Acosta.

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